Blu-Ray News #350: I Wouldn’t Be In Your Shoes! (1948).

Directed by William Nigh
Starring Don Castle, Elyse Knox, Regis Toomey, Charles D. Brown, Bill Kennedy, John Doucette, Ray Teal

A Monogram picture making its way to Blu-Ray is always a reason to rejoice. This one, a fairly obscure noir picture based on a Cornell Woolrich story, it’s a really big deal indeed. Thank you, Warner Archive!

I Wouldn’t Be In Your Shoes! (1948) is one of those Poverty Row pictures where everything came together just right, from the lack of money to the chintzy sets to the no-name stars to the great character actors, to create something really memorable. Don Castle plays a dancer who’s convicted of murder (that he didn’t do). Elyse Knox is his wife, who’ll do just about anything to get him off Death Row. I’m not gonna spoil things by going any further.

This was one of director William Nigh’s last pictures. He was a prolific Poverty Row man, and he gave us some real favorites — Mutiny In The Big House (1939), Doomed To Die (194o), The Ape (1940) and Black Dragons (1942, one of “the Monogram Nine”). I Wouldn’t Be In Your Shoes! has the usual Monogram feel, stagy and a bit hurried, but it makes quite an impression. I’m a sucker for DP Mack Stengler, who shot everything from Sagebrush Law and Ghosts On The Loose (both 1943) to episodes of The Lone Ranger and Leave It To Beaver.

I Wouldn’t Be In Your Shoes! gets a big fat recommendation.

9 Comments

Filed under DVD/Blu-ray News, Monogram/Allied Artists, Regis Toomey, William Nigh

9 responses to “Blu-Ray News #350: I Wouldn’t Be In Your Shoes! (1948).

  1. Barry Lane

    Completely agree and I like both Don Castle and Elyse Knox.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Bert Greene

    I’ll definitely need to check this one out. It’s one of the very few Monogram crime/mystery/noir items I’ve never seen. Others include another Don Castle title, “Perilous Waters” (1948), along with “Sea Tiger” (1952) and “Sideshow” (1950). Although there are also a few British pick-ups from Monogram as well, like “The Silk Noose” (1948) and “Temptation Harbor” (1950), I need to catch. Elyse Knox was also in Monogram’s “Forgotten Women” (1949), about lady dipso’s, which I’ve never encountered. Monogram had an earlier film sharing that title (from 1931), which was an interesting curio with a Hollywood backdrop, involving women working as film-studio ‘extras.’ It co-starred cowboy star Rex Bell in a non-western role, and featured a nice car-chase finale.

    Some of those Monogram titles from its earlier incarnation (1931-35, before W. Ray Johnston and Trem Carr bolted from Yates/Republic, and restarted Monogram again in 1937) are apparently ‘lost.’ Like “The Midnight Patrol” (1932) with Regis Toomey and Betty Bronson, and (I believe) “Devil’s Mate” (1933) with Preston Foster. Not saying that early Monogram batch constitutes some forgotten repository of great classics. Typical poverty-row stuff for the most part, but they were starting to click with decent productions like “Happy Landing” (1934) and “A Girl of the Limberlost” (1934) and such, before that merger that led to the formation of Republic. One Trem Carr production that came out as an early Republic title, “Two Sinners” (1935), I watched fairly recently, and it was a particularly good little film, despite budgetary restraints. It starred Otto Kruger and the very talented Martha Sleeper, who always manages to impress me. Still a fair number of those early Republic features I need to explore.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Walter

    Toby, Barry, and Bert, yes it is a reason to rejoice when a small budget movie from Monogram Pictures receives a Blu-ray release. I hope there are more to come. I don’t remember ever viewing I WOULDN’T BE IN YOUR SHOES!(1948) and it reads like a good one. I’ve fond memories of viewing a lot of Monogram movies on television’s early afternoon movies during the 1960’s.

    Bert’s list of movies, I find very interesting, to say the least. The fact that some of these small budget movies are now being made available in DVD and Blu-ray editions is something to celebrate. These productions give us pleasures, and they represent a bygone era of movie-making that is, somewhat, now being preserved for posterity.

    Has DECOY(1946) ever been released on Blu-ray anywhere in the world?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Bert Greene

      Hey Walter! Hope you’re doing well. Warner did put out “Decoy” (1946) on a double-feature dvd as I recall. A rather cut-throat film, it’s a very popular title amongst noir buffs, but I’m only lukewarm towards it. Honestly, my tastes don’t always align with the noir connoisseurs. I love generic crime-dramas, and enjoy the atmosphere and ambiance of the era. I’m even quite partial to downbeat tales, but I’m less keen on things I find too gratuitously cynical, or too apt to want to just wallow in that kind of postwar jadedness. That can sometimes wear thin with me, as can overly-florid melodrama. Hence, when it comes to noir I’m usually fifty-fifty… love half of them, feel a bit meh towards the others.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Walter

        Bert, we are doing okay. My wife is still in remission from cancer, so this year is much better. Also, we are both totally vaccinated for the current Coronavirus.

        Understood, about much of post-war noir. A lot of it I can take, or leave. Yes, I’m aware of the DECOY/CRIME WAVE double-feature DVD, I was just wondering if it had been released somewhere on Blu-ray.

        I grew up viewing a lot of the EAST-SIDE KIDS/BOWERY BOYS and later CHARLIE CHAN Monogram movies. Too me these are enjoyable and fun movies.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. john k

    This is indeed welcome news especially as Warner Archive are now
    only releasing Blu Ray editions.
    With big changes at the company I wrongly thought that the days of
    obscure Monogram releases are indeed over.
    Always nice to be proved wrong especially as Warners are also
    releasing an obscure RKO B Picture STEP BY STEP,
    Don Castle was an ideal Noir actor;he has a frailty that made him ideal
    for the genre,although sadly his short life almost played out like a
    real life Noir.
    I don’t know if Warners own the rights to another Monogram/Don Castle
    Noir THE GUILTY a no budget gem if ever there was one.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Walter

    John K, I’m really enjoying the appreciation of these orphan movies. I’m so glad, for the moment anyway, that Warner Archive is going ahead and releasing them(who knows about next year). These neglected small budget programmers from RKO-Radio and Monogram Pictures have good stories and need and should be seen.

    STEP BY STEP(filmed 1945-46, released 1946) is a good entertaining movie. We get to see Lawrence Tierney as a good guy for a change, although the very talented and beautiful Anne Jeffreys, said that working with him was a harrowing experience(I rather enjoyed Bert Greene’s story about meeting and talking with Tierney, who he called a “peculiar” guy). This movie is a fast-paced Nazis spy drama with beefcake and cheesecake, ala Tierney and Jeffreys, both spending a lot of time in swimsuits in sunny coastal California.

    I agree that THE GUILTY(filmed 1946, released 1947) is a no budget gem. Talk about twists and turns with one climax, then another. A very atmospheric crime drama with a good cast. Bonita Granville is a delight as the good girl-bad girl twins The source material is from the pen of Cornell Woolrich, which is always a plus.

    Austrian emigre John Reinhardt directed THE GUILTY and some other good movies such as HIGH TIDE(1947), OPEN SECRET(filmed 1947, released 1948), SOFIA(1948), and CHICAGO CALLING(filmed 1951, released 1952).

    For anyone who missed Bert Greene’s Lawrence Tierney story, here it is in the comments. https://thehannibal8.wordpress.com/2018/10/25/blu-ray-review-queen-of-outer-space-1957/

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bert Greene

      I suspect a big determining factor for Warner Archive releasing Monogrammers on blu is the surviving source material, and if it’s up to snuff, meeting their rigid standards. As I recall, they had quite a time trying to locate some tolerably decent prints for some of the Bowery Boys films, just for the dvd-collections. I’m by no means a constant defender of Monogram studios, as they certainly put out a fair share of clunkers. In fact, last year, Alpha put out a copy of one of its more rare titles, “Hidden Enemy” (1940), a little spy drama starring Warren Hull and Kay Linaker. Talk about a plodding, cliche-ridden snoozefest! It was awful.

      But, I still love rummaging around poverty-row. Especially some of those fly-by-night production outfits of the 1930s. While the films might lack aesthetic kicks, they often capture a little visual or cultural vibe of their era, not as likely found in big-studio product.

      Yeah, Walter, I’ll also be grabbing “Step by Step” (1946-RKO) when it comes out. Haven’t seen it in some 30 years, but I remember it being rather crisp and fun. I don’t harbor any ill will towards Tierney, and even if I did, it would be vastly overshadowed by the sentimental affection I have for Anne Jeffries, whom I found to be just as delightful and as elegant off-screen as on. I’d probably go for just about ANY little RKO b-title that Warner would release on blu, to be honest. I’m such a sucker when it comes to these things.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Walter

    Bert, I’m with you concerning the talented and beautiful Anne Jeffreys. She has been a favorite of mine ever since I viewed her as the “Ghostess with the mostess” in syndicated reruns of the tv series TOPPER(1953-55), which I first saw during the 1960’s.

    Liked by 1 person

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